SAVANNAH, Ga. – Savannah advocates for refugee resettlement say they’re concerned for the future of a population they say is vulnerable and in need of American aid.
On Friday President Trump signed an executive order halting the American refugee program for four months, temporarily banned travel from seven countries for at least 90 days and indefinitely suspended the refugee program in Syria. Trump defends his action saying he is putting the national security of Americans first.
The executive order putting the Lutheran Service of Georgia on edge. Currently there are approximately 400 refugees settled in the Savannah area thanks to LSG’s work in the state. According to refugee program manager Lauren Cruickshank, LSG won’t be able to accept any refugees after this Friday.
“This ban will split up some families. I know that we have a number of families who have family members overseas that have been approved and would have been coming here to Savannah, you know parents siblings, children and now they’re not able to come because of this ban. So this is essentially splitting up these families,” Cruickshank said.
With dramatic changes coming to the refugee program, she says this could be detrimental to LSG’s budget.
” A lot of our funding is federal does trickle through the state so, yes, it could dramatically affect impact our funding,” Cruickshank said.
Many in the country agree with the president’s order, saying that the country should focus on its own citizens before putting effort and resources to those outside of America’s boarders. Cruickshank says it’s bigger than just a national security issue.
“I think that resettling refugees is one of the greatest things our country can do. It goes along with our principles of democracy and freedom. We’re helping people who really need help.”she said. “These are not threats to us. These are people who provide strength and I think that they’re fleeing the terror that we are fighting.”